By Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Above all, you must realize that if you go ahead with this invasion, Osama bin Laden will triumph, rising from his grave or seclusion. His network will be swollen with fresh recruits, and other charismatic individuals will seek to build upon his model, multiplying those networks. And the
Susan Lindauer sent her eleventh and last letter on the Iraqi political situation to then Bush chief of staff Andrew Card on January 6, 2003, just two months before General Franks gave the command to invade on March 20, 2003. She’d sent ten other letters on
In her final letter she made a prophetic plea to head off the war. Through Lindauer’s back channel contacts at the Iraqi United Nations mission, Lindauer said that she’d gathered a great deal of information. She had good reasons to believe that the Iraqis were ready to offer huge concessions on inspectors and on other
As the opening quotation shows, she correctly predicted what other knowledgeable observers believed. While the
Lindauer was arrested on March 17, 2004, fifteen months after the last letter to Andy Card and two years after the trip to
She denies acting as an Iraqi agent and says that she’d been recruited by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency to open a back channel for contact with Middle Eastern nations that lacked formal diplomatic ties the
She was very specific when she said that she had no knowledge of or contact with the two Iraqis named in her indictment. In his final ruling on the case, Judge Mukasey observed that:
It bears emphasis here that it was never the government's theory that Lindauer participated in such conduct, or indeed that she even knew the Al-Anbuke brothers. Rather, she and they were charged together only because both allegedly conspired with IIS. Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Opinion and Order, September 6, 2006.
At her preliminary hearing, she was remanded for trial in federal court, Southern District, New York, and placed on $500,000 bail
Another 18 months passed without action until the prosecution requested that Lindauer undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The prosecution argued that she was unfit to stand trial for two reasons: she believed that she was not guilty and she was therefore unable to contribute to her defense since she didn’t understand that she might be convicted. Her failure to accept guilt by denying what the prosecution called delusions somehow proved mental incompetence.
Based on the psychiatric evaluation, Judge Mukasey ordered Lindauer to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Federal Medical Center (Carswell FMC),
Lindauer has consistently maintained her innocence throughout this entire affair. After seven months at FMC Carswell, she had a hearing with Judge Mukasey in early May 2006. The psychiatrists at the federal prison facility wanted to force her to take psychotropic medication, a position strongly supported by the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case. She vigorously objected to this, which was the basis for the May hearing. The government’s rationale for forced medication and the treatment at Carswell FMC will be discussed in more depth in the second part of this series.
Rather than being sent back to the prison facility, she spent four months at the
His opinion and order implied that there was not much of case against her: “There is no indication that Lindauer ever came close to influencing anyone, or could have.” Opinion and Order, Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Sept. 6, 2006
The Judge ordered that Lindauer be released from jail. She remains free to this day. Through former U.S. Attorney Brian Schaunnessy of
Susan Lindauer’s Story
After seeing an article I wrote on Attorney General nominee Mukasey, Susan Lindauer emailed Jeff Tiedrich, publisher of the political web site that carried the story. She complimented my analysis of Mukasey, which had mentioned her case. I received the email, contacted her, and requested an interview. She agreed.
Susan Lindauer and I met on two occasions for a total of about six hours. In addition, there was an additional two hours of phone contact to assure that I accurately represented her story. She says this is the first time anyone contacted her for an in depth interview on her story and experience.
She was engaging, articulate, and energetic during the interviews and follow up calls. In this article, I present her story as she told it to me. In part two of the series, I cover her confinement at FMC Carswell, examine how the initial round of her case was handled, including Judge Mukasey’s dismissive remarks about the merits of the case against her. I will also present information from individuals who support her character and knowledge of Lockerbie and
What follows is neither a brief in favor of her case, nor is it a fishing expedition to generate cheap shots regarding her claims. It’s simply her story.
Susan Lindauer seeks a trial on the charges to prove her innocence.
She says that:
- She worked for
United Statesintelligence to create back channel communication with key Middle Eastern states and all of her actions were under the supervision of intelligence. U.S.
- She was recruited by
intelligence to perform this function in 1994 due to her anti sanctions position and the belief that the targeted states would find someone with her position and contacts appealing. U.S.
- She made significant contributions through her U.N. diplomatic contacts with
for the hand over of accused Lockerbie bombers to Scottish authorities. After Lockerbie, she worked as a back channel to Libya on resuming weapons inspection. Iraq
- She is innocent of all charges filed.
Lindauer reports that her role as a back channel operative for the
She noted that her knowledge of Arab culture and her positions as an anti sanction, pro peace advocate positioned her for service as a conduit to nations hostile to
Lockerbie, Scotland and the Bombing of Pan Am 103
The Clinton administration was interested in using her as an entrée to communicate with Libya officials, according to Lindauer. Her specific task was to help obtain the hand over of two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to stand trial for the destruction of the Pan Am flight and deaths of 259 passengers and 11 Lockerbie citizens
Lindauer described playing an instrumental role in negotiating the handover of the two suspected bombers from
During the lead up to the trial, Lindauer had serious questions about the guilt of the Libyans that she helped secure for trial. She says, “Other Arab contacts told me that Mohammed Abu Talb, Abu Nidal, in addition to Ahmed Jibril were the key to this awful crime.”
In 1998, she provided U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan with a deposition containing information that she obtained from Dr. Richard Fuisz. This was prior to Annan’s visit to
However, Fuisz was the subject of a 1990’s gag order and required specific permission from the
Lindauer’s statement on Lockerbie caught the attention of the
[In 1994] One month before a court order was served on him (Fuisz) by the
The Herald discussed her role in negotiations with
Congressional aide Lindauer, who was involved in early negotiations over the Lockerbie trial, claims Fuisz made "unequivocal statements to me that he has first-hand knowledge about the Lockerbie case". In her affidavit, she goes on: "Dr Fuisz has told me that he can identify who orchestrated and executed the bombing. Dr Fuisz has said that he can confirm absolutely that no Libyan national was involved in planning or executing the bombing of Pan Am 103, either in any technical or advisory capacity whatsoever.” Sunday Herald May 28, 2000
Her position was not that different than an analysis offered in Time Magazine in 2002. Both she and Time speculate that Ahmed Jibril, a Palestinian resistance leader allied with
Just recently, Time ran another article on findings by investigators raising factual questions that cast doubt on the guilty verdict of the one suspect actually convicted in the case.
On June 28, 2007, Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) made a referral of the al Megrahi conviction for further review due to a critical flaw in the case. Evidence from a Maltese shopkeeper that helped convict al Megrahi was accepted by trial judges without a “reasonable basis”. The SCCRC is empowered to refer flawed decisions to
Just recently, October 2, 2007, The Scotsman reported that “Fresh doubt has been cast over the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber after it emerged a document containing vital evidence about the bomb timer has never been shown to the defense.”
In addition, The Scotsman, Oct. 6, 2007, reported that two key witnesses, the Maltese shopkeeper and the head of the company that manufactured the timing devise for the bomb, were offered $2 million and $4 million respectively by
Lindauer said that her work on Lockerbie started in 1995, “I was being used aggressively at this point for positive things.” She didn’t see any inconsistency between her activism and her work with the intelligence community. She opposed both sanctions by the
Thus, by her logic, her work for
An Opening to
After Lockerbie, Lindauer says her work focused exclusively on
During 2000, Lindauer began her efforts to cultivate Iraqi contacts for better relations with the
The program met with a frosty reception from the newly installed Bush administration. Lindauer said, “I was told that the new administration was evaluating its position on
This leads to the second phase of her activities regarding
A year before the invasion, in March 2002, Lindauer took a trip to
Lindauer sent 11 letters to Card staring in 2001 leading her to pose this question: “If he wanted to discourage me to stop talking to the Iraqis, all he had to do was say so.”
In the final letter sent to Card, Lindauer delivered her accurate prediction of the results of the invasion she worked to avoid – a disaster in
She accurately estimated the true value of the exile groups cultivated by the Bush administration and, in the case of Ahmed Chalabi, used almost exclusively by New York Times writer Judith Miller as the basis for her discredited claims in New York Times that
She argued passionately, with dramatic emphasis, that there was a deep well of hostility towards the
That hatred has kindled deeply because of the sanctions, Andy. Sanctions have killed 1.7 million human beings, including almost one million little children. Stop and think. What would an American father do to the man who killed three of his children, once that father could finally lay hands on the aggressor? Would he throw candy in the streets? No, he’d beat him to death and stab him 100 times until his arms were sore. And then he’d look for the next man, stalking until the right moment. In
While the Department of Justice questions Lindauer’s role as a cooperator with U.S. Intelligence and a question was raised about her ability to “influence anybody,” there can be little doubt about her analysis and predictions concerning post-war
Whatever her sources and inspiration, Susan Lindauer is truly an American Cassandra.
Note by RB: The Judge Michael B Mukasey mentioned above is President George Bush's nominee for the position of Attorney General of the United States to replace Alberto Gonzales. He is currently undergoing nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7003532,00.html
He has now been confirmed as Attorney General by the US Senate: